Senator Portantino Statement on 35th Anniversary of Sumgait Massacres

Friday, February 24 2023

For Immediate Release: February 24, 2023

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Senator Portantino Statement on 35th Anniversary of Sumgait Massacres

Glendale, CA – Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) released the following statement today on the 35th Anniversary of the Sumgait Massacres: 

"On February 27th mobs, encouraged by the Republic of Azerbaijan, descended on the Armenian neighborhoods of Sumgait.  Lootings, murder, and the expulsion of the entire Armenian population from Sumgait was the result. Many Armenians who escaped the Sumgait Massacres found refuge in California.  I was honored to have held a hearing with one of the survivors through the Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange, which I chair. At the hearing, we heard powerful details of her emotional story.  It was a tragic part of history that Californians needed to hear and memorialize.

Today, Azerbaijan continues to pursue the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from their ancestral lands in Artsakh, the independence of which was recognized by California in 2014.

The Sumgait Massacres of 1988, the invasion of Artsakh in 2020, and Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of Artsakh demonstrate that Ilham Aliyev’s deep-seated state policy of hatred toward Armenians will not stop until the international community intervenes.  As we honor the victims of Sumgait, we send our prayers to their families. Our united spirit is behind Artsakh and I strongly condemn the horrific Lachin Corridor blockade and the human rights abuses it is creating."